Multinationals zoom into Chinese market, as country embarks on promoting new quality productive forces
High-quality opening-up, new quality productive forces provide huge co-op potential
Published: Mar 25, 2024 05:00 PM
A view of Shanghai Photo: VCG

A view of Shanghai Photo: VCG

Top executives from multinational companies like Aramco, FedEx, Rio Tinto and Mercedes-Benz reiterated on Monday China's key role in their global operations, expressing their willingness to enhance cooperation with the world's second-largest economy. 

The executives said that China's high-quality opening-up and efforts to promote new quality productive forces will provide huge cooperation potential for them.

During the China Development Forum 2024 (CDF), which was held in Beijing, Rajesh Subramaniam, CEO and president of FedEx Corp, said that China is a key part of the global economy, and the firm remains confident in the country's growth potential.

"I am proud that FedEx is celebrating 40 years of business in this country this year. In 1984, FedEx was among the first multinational companies to begin operations here," Subramaniam said, noting that FedEx has hundreds of locations across China with more than 300 international flights weekly operating out of its Chinese hubs and gateways.

"FedEx is proud to be a part of China's growth story, and to have you be part of ours," he said.

Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of Mercedes-Benz, said during his speech that, after decades of relentless effort, China has become a global automobile powerhouse. Today, China is not only the largest market for new-energy vehicles (NEVs), but also an innovation hub with industry-leading companies and a mature NEV supply chain. 

"We believe the Chinese market will continue to grow and play a leading role in bringing new innovations to our industry," Källenius said, noting that as a close partner and friend of China, Mercedes-Benz is determined to grow in China and with China, for a shared future. 

Amin H. Nasser, president and CEO of Aramco, said at the forum that reliability is a core element of mutual respect, trust and win-win cooperation. He said that it is also the reason why China maintains its position as the No.1 trading partner of Saudi Arabia. 

Nasser stressed that China's high-quality development has brought it good investment opportunities.

Noting that energy and trade are the cornerstone of bilateral cooperation, Nasser said there are still five key sectors that offer opportunities for both parties -- chemicals, non-metallic materials, renewable energy, cutting-edge industries like the digital economy as well as venture capital. 

Regarding the new quality productive forces, Roland Busch, president and CEO of Siemens AG, noted that that high technology, high quality and high efficiency are the vital components of future development.

Promoting such productive forces is the way forward and gives the company more opportunities especially in digital applications in the vehicle production and shipbuilding industries, Busch said, adding that both the development of Siemens and China's path to high-quality development need better cooperation.

"There are still huge opportunities [that China provides to foreign enterprises], as it enjoys a large population with an attractive market," Peter Jungen, chairman of Peter Jungen Holding GmbH, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the CDF on Monday.

In terms of foreign direct investment, Jungen noted that China has investment from foreign companies that have been operating for years in China. "So you see that in the statistics, there may be less capital coming into the country for investment, but you have companies that have been in China for a long time, investing to increase their capacity with profits they have made in the country," Jungen said.

China has stepped up efforts to open its door to the outside world with high quality, as shown by the latest action plan unveiled by the State Council, the cabinet, to advance high-level opening-up and attract and utilize foreign investment with greater efforts.

Targeted measures include expanding market access in the high-tech and financial sectors, facilitating cross-border data flows and promoting international business travel, according to the action plan.

"This is very important because we are just getting out of the three years of the global COVID-19 crisis, which led to a lack of trust and economic volatility," Denis Depoux, global managing director of Roland Berger, told the Global Times on Monday on the sidelines of the CDF.

It's very important to give very strong signals to multinationals that China will not change course and will continue to deepen opening-up and be fully open, as well as offer a level playing field for foreign companies, Depoux noted.

The CDF has sent a clear message of China's robust economic recovery and its opening-up to the world, injecting certainty and positive momentum into the global economy, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian told a press conference on Monday.

Despite changing international dynamics, China remains committed to development through interacting with the world and providing new opportunities for the world through its own growth. China will be adhering to opening-up policies and pursuing win-win cooperation, Lin said.